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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 22. 14th September 1972

Grading Failures

page 5

Grading Failures

The organization of the stage one accountancy courses this year has left much to be desired and it is hoped the publication of some of these criticisms may lead to improvements in the future.

Accountancy 101
(1)Students and tutors were not advised that assignments, essays and the terms exam counted towards finals until the second term. This finals exam was held in study week. (A small sample of students would show that a hint at the beginning of the first term passed unnoticed) Even a prominent member of the Accountancy Department connected to the course, as late as the end of the first term, considered terms marks would only influence final grades for those who had just failed.
(2)This lack of communication resulted in tutors using three different methods of marking assignments. These included grades, marks and ticks indicating the assignment has been handed in. Ultimately it was decided only four assignments would count 20% of the finals, presumably because of these inconsistencies and the fact model answers had been available to students with tutorials at the end of the week. This still presented problems for those tutors who hadn't marked four assignments - the "ticks" were the equivalent of 75% if all assignments had been handed in, which was equal to four "As" for those being marked by grades. Only those marked out of some number had the advantage of receiving 100% if the assignment so warranted it.
Accountancy 102
(1)For those fortunate enough to pass the 101 examination the circumstances and methods of assessment have been considerably improved.
(2)Assignments are marked by a few set markers and the ones counting towards finals are supposedly secret. Despite the Department's recognition of the problem, model answers arc still given at some tutorials early in the week to the advantage of those who wish to use them and have later tutorials.
(3)The first assignment, now returned to students, appears to be marked [unclear: s]on the "if the total isn't right then no marks principle" which most would find totally unjustifiable especially in a subject like accountancy. Per usual the question included a mistake, the correction of which was only given to one stream of students putting many others wrong.
(4)The terms exam on the first day of term was a complete farce and has set the Department an impossible task of correlating marks to get some semblance of objectivity. In the early exam essential figures were left off the first question with students not being advised until over half-way through. For those unfortunate enough to waste time on the question - tough luck. For those who did not then they will be best off as marks will be scaled up. The wisest students moved up to LB1 in the next period and sat the same exam with revised figures in the second class!

The problems of large classes and staff shortages inevitably cause difficulties in stage one courses. However none of the above criticisms can be so excused. Surely it takes little time for the examiner to read papers before the exam and mistakes in set assignments should be corrected as well. Similarly an improvement in staff-tutor-student communications would take little effort. Both tutors and students should know what marks count and more specifically tutors should know how they are evaluated to avoid inconsistency.

The Accountancy Department is infamous for these inadequacies which are quite separate from the quality of lecturing and are not confined to stage one. It is more critical they be eliminated now that most of marks for the final grade are based on term work.